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Effects of Aquatic Macrophytes on Spatial Distribution and Feeding Habits of Exotic Fish Species Lepomis macrochirus and Micropterus salmoides in Shallow Reservoirs in South Korea

National Institute of Ecology, Seo-Cheon Gun 325-813, Chungcheongnam Province, Korea
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Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1447; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041447
Received: 16 January 2020 / Revised: 13 February 2020 / Accepted: 13 February 2020 / Published: 15 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Collection Risk Assessment and Management)
Aquatic macrophytes determine the physical complexity of aquatic environments and may influence the distribution and feeding habits of fish species. We explored the influence of different microhabitats, including vegetated beds (VB), edges of vegetated beds (EVB), and open water zones (OW), on two exotic fish species (Lepomis macrochirus and Micropterus salmoides) in shallow reservoirs. Lepomis macrochirus was more abundant in VB than in other zones and M. salmoides was mainly distributed in EVB. In VB, L. macrochirus mainly consumed branchiopods and isopods, while M. salmoides in EVB relied on relatively larger food items, such as dipterans, odonatans, and young fish. The consumption of young fish by M. salmoides, including L. macrochirus, showed little difference between winter and summer. Based on these findings, we suggest that young L. macrochirus (~20 cm) utilize VB as a refuge to avoid predation by M. salmoides. Meanwhile, M. salmoides mainly occupied in areas surrounding VB, preying on animals at these edges. As such, the presence of aquatic macrophytes appears to plays a key role in the survival and population growth of L. macrochirus. Proper management of aquatic macrophytes can help reduce populations of exotic fish and support native fish species. View Full-Text
Keywords: habitat heterogeneity; piscivorous fish; prey size-selectivity; prey-predator interaction; freshwater refugia habitat heterogeneity; piscivorous fish; prey size-selectivity; prey-predator interaction; freshwater refugia
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Choi, J.-Y.; Kim, S.-K. Effects of Aquatic Macrophytes on Spatial Distribution and Feeding Habits of Exotic Fish Species Lepomis macrochirus and Micropterus salmoides in Shallow Reservoirs in South Korea. Sustainability 2020, 12, 1447.

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